Anti-fracking activists found not guilty of obstructing Misson road

editorial image

Two women have been found not guilty of charges relating to an anti-fracking protest at Misson Springs.

Environomental activists Michelle Maddock, of Myrtle Road, Sheffield, and Stephanie Robinson, of South Close, Unstone, Dronfield were acquitted of wilful obstruction of a highway at Mansfield Magistrates Court on Thursday, November 14.

Michelle Maddock and Stephanie Robinson have been found not guilty of wilful obstruction of a highway, following an anti-fracking protest at Misson Springs on April 1.

Michelle Maddock and Stephanie Robinson have been found not guilty of wilful obstruction of a highway, following an anti-fracking protest at Misson Springs on April 1.

The pair accused were among an estimated 80 people at the ‘fossil fools’ demonstration at the Igas Misson Springs site on April 1 this year, where they had used a ‘lock-on’ device to create a human obstacle at the gates to the site.

In court, one of the defendants declared: “I stood up for what I believe in, and I’d do it again.

“Gas extraction is an injustice and needs opposing by all means available to us.”

The main legal argument was as to whether the protest had been sited on or off the highway.

Five police representatives and the manager of the Igas site were called as witnesses.

The court heard how four HGVs were cancelled from arriving at the site on the day in question, while two were kept inside the gates and two more were put off until the next day.

Staff were still able to enter and leave through the nearby pedestrian gate.

District Judge Meachin initially appeared to suggest the likelihood of a guilty verdict, saying he had dealt with several other cases at the same site and had always found protests to have taken place on the highway.

However, in his final summary he said: “Looking at the evidence I am not sure, and therefore there is not a case. I cannot be sure you are wholly on the highway.”